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Land Values
Estate tax bite could skyrocket next year

Ask an ag economist about the estate tax situation, and he may ask if you want the good news, worst possible news or so-so news first.

Rethink long-term borrowing strategies

Variable-rate loans, or loans with a fixed rate for a relatively short period that then turns into a variable rate, have served many people well over the past decade. A period of low interest rates kept rates reasonable, even with variable rates in play. A pair of Purdue University ag economists suggest that ploy may no longer be a smart move in the future. The future could arrive in 12 to 24 months.

Land value drops in ’09

The average value of an acre of farmland in Iowa declined in 2009 for the first time in a decade, according to the annual survey by Iowa State University Extension. It shows the statewide average as of Nov. 1, 2009, was $4,371 an acre, down 2.2% or $97 from November 2008.

Landowners choosing conservation

With Wyoming feeling the effects of the economic downturn, some landowners are looking at their options for the future.

Farmland values increase slightly

Farmland values continued to rise last year and are once again reaching all-time record levels, according to a survey I conduct annually on bare farmland sales. However, the recent increase across the 14 Minnesota counties surveyed was only 0.8%.

10-year return on land is 242%

The North Dakota Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers has released its 13th annual survey of North Dakota and northwest Minnesota farmland values and rents.

SD land gains smallest since 1996

South Dakota farmland values continue to increase, but the 5.2% gain in 2009 was the smallest since 1996, according to the latest South Dakota State University Farm Real Estate Market Survey.

Cash leases can help both parties

Landowners and their tenants both want to make a profit. For farmers like Tom and Lori Pfeifer of Madison, profitability depends on many variables, including cash rental rates.

Fortifying farmland

There are 10 million acres of ag land in Michigan and nearly a third are enrolled in the state’s temporary farmland preservation program, commonly known as P.A. 116.

Sept. 1 is land lease deadline

Summer is a good time to think about cropland rental agreements for the coming year. By law in Iowa, if you wish to terminate your rental arrangement or want to change the terms in your current farmland lease, and the lease or agreement involves 40 acres or more, notice must be given to the other party by Sept. 1.

Does it pay to own farmland?

What are the average returns from owning farmland over the years? Two Iowa State University Extension economists, William Edwards and Don Hofstrand, recently studied that question, looking back over the years since 1970.

Farmland values hold

The trend in Wisconsin farmland values since 2001 has been upward, says Arlin Brannstrom, University of Wisconsin Extension farm management specialist, “but in 2009 we saw that leveling off and actually declining slightly, from a statewide average of $3,245 an acre in 2008 to $3,190 per acre last year.

Indiana farmland values stay strong

The smart money said land values would drop in mid-2010. That’s not what a midsummer Purdue University Land Survey found, and it’s not what recent sales results show. Nevertheless, a poll of bankers and farm managers expects softening of land prices through fall, although it projects land will be higher five years from now than today.

Grains, oilseeds may climb even higher

If your market-riding “saddle” has a seat belt, you’d better buckle up. Grain and oilseeds have potential for even more volatility and higher 2011 prices. That’s if production concerns abroad and tightening world stocks materialize. A U.S. economy that’s showing signs of rebounding from the recession, more favorable exchange rates and higher energy and oil prices are improving demand prospects. That’s raising concerns.

Questions to ask on renting land

The Alerus Financial farm managers address questions from landowners about rent.

Do the math before buying land

Cropland prices are going up. And, they will continue upward as long as crop prices lead the way, says Ron Plain, University of Missouri Extension agricultural economist.

CRP’s effect on rural areas likely to linger

Regardless of how many Conservation Reserve Program acres return to farming, expectations are low that rural businesses and small towns impacted by the federal project will return to their former status.

No correction yet in land

The upswing continues in farmland sale prices, according to Lee Vermeer, vice president of real estate operations at Farmers National Co.Demand for U.S. farmland is dramatically higher than a year ago.

Which way for land values?

Most of the land market insiders who responded to a Purdue University survey said they see the growth rate in farmland values slowing over the next five years.

State farmland fetched higher cash rent in 2011

Cash rents rose again in 2011, compared to 2010. It’s one factor that buoys farmland values and contributes to land price increases.

Recent survey shows Indiana land prices continue to climb

Craig Dobbins says it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess which way Indiana land prices are headed. Farmland values are likely to continue rising, but probably at a slower pace.

Run cash bonus lease past landowner

The lease for farm ground Howard Doster likes best is a flexible lease. Some risk passes to the landowner, who also reaps reward if things go well. Doster is a former Purdue University Extension ag economist.

Rent rising

When Iowa State University Extension released its annual land value survey results in December, it pegged the average acre of cropland in Iowa at $6,708 — up 32.5% from a year earlier. How does increased land value correlate with cropland rental rates?

Ag land value up 32.5%

The average value of Iowa farmland is estimated at $6,708 per acre for 2011, an increase of 32.5% from 2010. This is the highest percentage increase ever recorded in the annual statewide survey by Iowa State University. Results of the 2011 Iowa Land Value Survey were released in December. It was conducted in November.

Can you believe $20,000 per acre?

A new record was set for Iowa farmland when a 74-acre tract near Hull in Sioux County sold at auction Dec. 7 for $20,000 per acre. The buyer was a neighboring farmer, Leland Kaster. The seller, Clinton Shinkle, lives in the state of Washington.

Average ND land prices up 14% in 2011

Average cropland values in North Dakota increased 14% in 2011, according to a compilation of sales reported by the North Dakota Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.

Draft flex rent that’s fair to both sides

Are flex rents a better way to rent land today? Flex rents are agree-ments that increase or decrease the actual rent paid up or down depending on yield, price and/or input costs.

Land values up whopping 31%

Nebraska’s agricultural real estate values jumped 31% in the last year, the largest increase in the 34-year history of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s annual survey.

Survey shows 23.7% jump

Iowa farmland continues to rise in value. Neighboring farmers and landowners are the strongest buyers, with investors also buying farms. The Iowa Chapter of the Realtors Land Institute released its March farmland value survey results. It shows an average increase of 10.8% in farmland values compared to six months ago. Combined with the September 2011 survey results, this computes to a one-year average increase in Iowa farmland values of 23.7%.

Farmland prices: rock bottom to sky-high

The farmland bust of 1892 found an Iowa farmer living in a cave somewhere in Texas with his pet raccoon. Following the Civil War, which ended in 1865, he had purchased a square 640-acre farm for $10 per acre. Eventually he would lose this farm located near Churdan, Iowa.

Land still selling well

Iowa farmland values continue to hold steady with increased sale prices for high-quality land. Neighboring farmers and landowners are the primary buyers, although a few investors are also interested in buying land at current prices.

Verbal contract is still a contract

I agreed to my landowner’s request for $15 per acre more cash rent next year when it was raining and markets were up. Now they’re down, and I should have offered less, not more. Am I stuck?

Gas leasing: what landowners need to know

Farmers and landowners in southern tier New York and across much of Pennsylvania will be impacted by natural gas development — one way or another. While windfall checks are bringing smiles to the fortunate, the economic and environmental concerns are almost as deep as the 7,000-foot-deep Marcellus Shale gas formation.

Exports could energize higher prices for grain

The grain outlook typically sees supply changes as the largest price influencer. But since the 2005-06 marketing year, volatility in demand has been an especially important price driver.

Rest of the story on tax commission ruling

Mess with assessments for property tax and landowner attention perks up. Well, make that if the rate is raised, attention perks up.

Rental trends draw interest

There’s high interest in who owns farmland in Iowa, and in particular, the topic of absentee ownership and its impact on rural areas. That’s one reason Iowa State University Extension sociologist J. Gordon Arbuckle decided to study what’s going on with rented land.

Farm forevermore

Rob and Regina Richardson are in their late 50s, and while retirement is still several years away, they feel good knowing that their son, Roy, will continue farming their land.

Ag inputs and credit costs headed higher

American agriculture made a big comeback in 2010. Net farm income was about $81.6 billion, up 31% from a year earlier — the second-largest on record.

Missouri River farmers start cleanup

The coming months won’t be easy for flooded farmers like Scott Olson of Tekamah. Of course, the past few months haven’t exactly been a cakewalk for hundreds of farmers who operate along the Missouri River.